DeVry University cited as model institution in new McKinsey & Company report on higher education productivity

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., December 16, 2010

DeVry University is one of eight colleges and universities profiled in a new report by McKinsey & Company as models of how the United States can meet one of its most urgent economic challenges: producing significantly more college-educated workers at a time of shrinking public budgets and rising tuitions.

The new McKinsey report, Winning by degrees: the strategies of highly productive higher education institutions, cites best practices at DeVry University and the seven other institutions that can serve as examples of how the U.S. can meet its higher education attainment goals without increasing public spending or putting more financial pressure on students.

The international management consulting firm says colleges and universities must produce more graduates without increasing public funding or tuition and without compromising the quality of degrees awarded or reducing access – what it calls increasing “higher education degree productivity.”

The report, co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, focused on two-year and four-year institutions with student bodies comprised mainly of low-income, young adults. This demographic represents the “new majority” of college students, according to the report.

According to McKinsey, the eight institutions profiled demonstrate that it is possible to increase degree productivity by as much as 23 percent by 2020 without increasing public funding. Those high performing institutions are achieving degree productivity up to 60 percent better than their peer group average, according to McKinsey’s research.

McKinsey estimates the nation will need to produce roughly one million more graduates per year by 2020 - a 40 percent increase over today’s rate - to ensure it can meet employer demand for skilled professionals.

“This report shows that creative institutions can improve productivity in different ways, as long as they stay focused on the goal of educating more students for the same cost while maintaining or raising quality and access,” the report said. “The eight institutions we visited had an unwavering focus on educating students. They were determined to combine effective educational practices and good management to achieve their educational mission productively.”

The McKinsey report also says increasing degree productivity requires greater collaboration between institutions and policymakers and that greater accountability is needed across the entire higher education system.

“The entire higher education system requires better performance measurement, data gathering and benchmarking so that institutions and funders can track their progress… Unless such data become comprehensive and accessible, states and institutions cannot be held accountable for their progress,” the report states.

The report highlights five strategies that raise degree productivity either by increasing the rate at which students complete their degree or by helping reduce cost per student:

1. Creating pathways to graduation through more systematic academic supports. During the past year, DeVry University has implemented its Student Central system that provides students with a one-stop destination for all of their curricular, career and financial services.

2. Reducing “nonproductive” or excess credits. DeVry University’s degree programs are focused on providing students the skills they need to succeed in their chosen field of study. Because of this commitment and the university’s year-round scheduling, students can graduate with a four-year bachelor’s degree in three years, allowing them to enter the workforce more quickly.

3. Redesigning instruction through online learning or other means. DeVry University provides flexibility and access to meet the needs of its students. The university continues to make investments in its online programs since almost half of its students complete either a part or all of their coursework online. Nearly all DeVry University programs are now available online for students.

4. Designing more efficient core supports and services such as human resources, finance and IT. DeVry University has made a substantial investment in its new student information system, which will greatly enhance its ability to provide best-in-class student services.

5. Improving the efficiency of non-core services. In its 80-year history, DeVry has focused entirely on education – eschewing athletics and other non-core activities - and uses best practices to streamline other functions to ensure they are cost-effective and do not detract from the university’s primary mission.

“McKinsey’s research tackles the tough issue of adding capacity to our higher education system at a time of great need and record budget deficits,” said Daniel Hamburger, president and chief executive officer of DeVry Inc., the parent organization of DeVry University. “If the U.S. hopes to meet President Obama’s goal of leading the world in college attainment by 2020, we must find innovative ways to serve unmet educational need, making the necessary investments to improve productivity while maintaining the quality and accessibility of educational programs and services.”

The seven other institutions included in the report are Brigham Young University-Idaho, Indiana Wesleyan University-CAPS, Rio Salado College, Southern New Hampshire University, Tennessee Technology Centers, Valencia Community College and Western Governors University.

To obtain a copy of the report, click here to go to the McKinsey website.

About DeVry Inc.

DeVry's purpose is to empower its students to achieve their educational and career goals. DeVry (NYSE: DV)(member S&P 500 Index) is a global provider of educational services and the parent organization of Advanced Academics, Becker Professional Education, Carrington College, Carrington College California, Chamberlain College of Nursing, DeVry Brasil, DeVry University, and Ross University Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. These institutions offer a wide array of programs in business, healthcare and technology. DeVry’s institutions serve students in secondary through postsecondary education and professionals in accounting and finance. For more information, please call 630.353.3800 or visit


DeVry Inc.
Ernie Gibble
(630) 353-9920
[email protected]

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About DeVry University 

DeVry University strives to close society’s opportunity gap by preparing learners to thrive in careers shaped by continuous technological change. Founded in 1931, the university offers undergraduate and graduate programs onsite and online in Business, Healthcare and Technology. DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC, The university’s Keller Graduate School of Management is included in this accreditation. To learn more, visit